Recommended: Andrew Downing – “Otterville”


While the folk-jazz sound and geographical themes will immediately bring to mind the music of Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, there’s also plenty of Jerome Kern in the newest release from cellist Andrew Downing.  The friendly, easy-going demeanor of Otterville and the way the compositions flirt with catchy hooks and foot-tapping passages, there’s some Great American Songbook to how this music presents itself, as if these are songs were about the GAS and the locales in which they were created.  The dreamy rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s “Takin’ the A Train” is perhaps the best evidence of Downing’s talent at shaping music of a universal nature into something specific and personal and all its own.

There’s no huge spikes in emotional tone over the course of the ten tracks.  “Parade” and “Observatory” raise the temperature just a bit, but nothing that falls out of sorts with the tranquility of pieces like “A Pair of Eyes” and “Leaving Me With a Memory.”  The music persistently gives the impression of something formal to dance along to, even while it’s peaceful ambiance provides every indication that simply drifting in space is the only logical reaction.

The melodic sighs and raindrop cadences set down one gorgeous moment after the next, and it’s all brought together by a vision that gives it the shape and voice it requires for a personality.  This is beautiful music.

Your album personnel:  Andrew Downing (cello), Tara Davidson (alto sax), Michael Davidson (vibraphone), Christine Bougie (lap steel guitar), Paul Mathew (bass guitar), Nick Fraser (drums) and guests:  Rebecca Hennessy (trumpet) and William Carn (trombone).

The album is Self-Produced.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.

Jazz from the Toronto, Ontario, Canada scene.

Available at:  Amazon